Boston City Hall Building, Massachusetts Architecture, Brutalist Design USA

Boston City Hall Building

20th Century Civic Architecture in Massachusetts design by Kallmann, McKinnell, & Knowles, USA

Feb 12, 2019

Boston City Hall – 50th Anniversary

50th Anniversary Commemorative Pin and Letterpress Drawing Card

Background – 1969

On February 10, 1969 Boston’s new City Hall opened to much fanfare and controversy. A week-long program of ceremonies and events, which included performances by the Boston Pops—led by Arthur Fiedler—and the Boston Ballet, was capped by a champagne toast.

As a memento, a metal lapel pin was given to attendees to mark the occasion.

50th Anniversary Pin and Letterpress Drawing Card
Boston City Hall 50th Anniversary Pin and Letterpress Drawing Card
photo © Shannon McLean for OverUnder

50th Anniversary – 2019

To mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of Boston’s City Hall, a building which is now recognized as an iconic example of the Brutalist style, architect and designer Chris Grimley, a Founding Principal of OverUnder and Director of the firm’s pinkcomma gallery, has created an exclusive reproduction of the pin made from an original provided by Joyce Linehan, the Mayor’s Chief of Policy.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh accepts the first of an edition of 50 pins from Chris Grimley, co-author of Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston and designer of the 50th Anniversary Pin and Letterpress Drawing Card.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh
photo © Jeremiah Robinson for The City Of Boston

Cast in bronze and hand patina’d, the commemorative lapel pin is produced in a limited edition of fifty. Included with each pin is a unique numbered letterpress card that reproduces one of the original competition sketches for the building. Printed with gold ink, and signed in gold by Michael McKinnell, architect of the building, the set is a unique memento that celebrates Boston, City Hall and their concrete legacy.

50th Anniversary Pin (detail)
Boston City Hall 50th Anniversary Card Pin
photo © Shannon McLean for OverUnder

Pin dimensions: 1 1/4″ × 7/8″
Card dimensions: 4″ × 7″
Cost: $ 250.00
How to purchase:
Limited Edition: 50
Donation Benefactor: docomomo US

A significant percentage of sales will be donated to support the work of docomomo US, which is dedicated to the preservation of modern architecture, landscape and design. Through advocacy, education and documentation, docomomo provides leadership and knowledge by demonstrating the importance of modern design principles including the social context, technical merits, aesthetics and settings of these important pieces of American history.

Design: Chris Grimley and Shannon McLean for OverUnder
Casting: Harrison Casting (Johnson, Rhode Island)
Letterpress: Goosefish Press (Boston)

Previously on e-architect:

February 11th – the 50th anniversary of the opening of the now iconic Boston City Hall building.

Jan 10, 2019

Boston City Hall Building Renewal

Redevelopment of Boston City Hall

Boston City Hall, designed by Kallmann, McKinnell, & Knowles, Architects, is now recognized as among the most important municipal buildings of its kind. It’s also known as an excellent example of “Brutalism,” or concrete modernism.

Leading up to the Boston City Hall building’s official 50th anniversary this year, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture has instigated small changes and proposed other sweeping updates to the building and its 7-acre plaza.

Boston City Hall
photo © Naquib Hossain/Dotproduct Photography

In a comprehensive report conducted through the city’s Public Facilities Department, a multi-pronged planning process to introduce both design and operational improvements to the structure has already begun.

The Boston City Hall and Plaza Study, completed in 2017 in collaboration with Boston-based Utile Architecture + Planning and Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects, advises reorganization of the administrative and public service needs through improved design.

The proposal aims to restructure the upper floors of the building and introduce shared spaces that can be used by different teams.

Building renewal design:
Boston City Hall building renewal design
rendering Courtesy Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects

Utile Architecture + Planning completed a renovation of the building’s lobby in July 2017.

Urgent repairs will continue over the next four years, with major interior renovation work due to start in 2020.

Boston City Hall Photo Contest

City Hall are looking for artists, architects, and designers to take a photo of Boston City Hall’s exterior and redesign it in a way that you think would take the building to the next level.

They will select fifteen images to be printed and framed for display in the Mayor’s Gallery on the 5th floor of Boston City Hall for the month of February.

The deadline to submit artwork is January 20, 2019.

Boston City Hall building photos

Aug 1, 2017

Boston City Hall Building, Massachusetts

Boston City Hall
Design: Kallmann, McKinnell, & Knowles, Architects

Location: Boston City Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

City of Boston

Date built: 1968

Boston City Hall One of Twelve Recipients of Getty Foundation’s Keeping It Modern Grants

In 1962 a panel of judges defied expectations and awarded the design of Boston City Hall to the newly established firm of Gerhard Kallmann, Michael McKinnell, and Edward Knowles to execute a bold new vision of brutalist architecture.

Grandly austere with its concrete facade, Boston City Hall features several playful gestures, including its gravitydefying mayor’s office that hovers over the main entrance plaza and a profusion of outsized classical dentils.

The latter’s ironic reference to the city’s plethora of Greek-inspired municipal buildings underscores the architects’ intention to introduce a new idiom to Boston’s civic landscape. Although reception of the building has been mixed, the last several years have seen a shift in public sentiment, with many residents now embracing the site as a key feature of the city fabric.

Even with this renewed support, serious issues affect the structure’s long-term preservation—from water ingress to inadequate joint support for structural concrete elements. City Hall is keenly aware that strategic planning is needed to pave the way forward. Specialists across many professions, in close collaboration with City Hall and the Boston Landmarks Commission, will use Getty support to evaluate the building and plaza, perform laboratory analysis of the concrete, and assess the building’s systems in order to create a conservation management plan for the site.

Grant support: $120,000

Boston City Hall Building images / information from The Getty Foundation

Getty Foundation Keeping it Modern 2017 Grants

Address: 1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201, USA

Phone: +1 617-635-4500

Location: Boston City Hall, Massachusetts, USA

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Website: Boston City Hall